UPDATES - REVISED HEADLINE, DECK; DEATH TOLL RISES; TALIBAN TAKES RESPONSIBILITY; PRESIDENTIAL CONDEMNATION
By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - The Afghan Taliban killed at least five people and wounded over 70 others -- most civilians -- in a Wednesday assault on a medical facility under construction at Bagram Airbase, the biggest U.S. military station in Afghanistan.
Abdul Shakoor, the governor of Bagram, north of the capital Kabul, told Anadolu Agency that the attack began around 6.00 a.m. local time (0130GMT) with a suicide attack and continued with a gunfight.
In the evening, Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi said in a statement that three attackers were killed by security forces, one was arrested, and two more were still exchanging fire with security forces.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the terrorist attack on a medical facility as a "crime against humanity."
The attack targeted a medical facility "being constructed to help the Afghan people who live near the base," said the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in a statement.
"The attack was quickly contained and repelled by our ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) and Coalition partners, but the future medical facility was badly damaged," the statement said, adding that there were no U.S. or coalition casualties and that Bagram," remained secure throughout the attack."
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said in a tweet that scores of "invading Americans" as well as Afghan forces were killed in the attack.
The incident comes amid renewed talks between the U.S. and the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha.
Last month, visiting Bagram, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed his administration had resumed peace talks with the Taliban and that the insurgent group would be willing to observe a cease-fire.